14 March, 2012

Candidates 2012

Yes, while FIDE upsets various established tournaments with the announcements of the FIDE Candidates taking place later this year , the Candidates for the T9030 website kicked off last week.

As a former group winner ( although I think I only played about 3 or 4 games to qualify, as one of the 4 in my group 'dropped out' ) I was eligible to join, so this time around, I did !

The pairings meant that I ended up against a player significantly higher-rated than me ( some 300 or more points :) and quite honestly, having switched to a Friday night at my opponent's request, I wasn't really in the best physical and mental state to play after a week's work.

( As an aside, this reminded me of an observation from Nigel Davies, that his best 'improvement' advice to one of his students was not to play when he was tired, ie during the week, but rather on a weekend when he was rested and prepared : very sound and simple advice ! )

Regardless, after sacrificing at the altar of Caissa, I set down to play in as spirited and adventurous a style as I could. In my opinion, it would be pointless trying to play a defensive match, or for a draw.

07 March, 2012

Ups and Downs in T52

Four TL games in just over a week, means I haven't posted much recently.

These games were all good and I felt I played well in all of them, but came away with 2 wins and 2 losses.

Both losses as Black, both in U1800, and probably both through my mistakes.

Wins both as White, both in U1600 and both against the French !

Make of those what you will, but it leaves the team in a good position in U1600, and struggling in U1800.

Here's a few positions...

This was from a French Defence, which was an interesting positional game, with much manoeuvring until the exchanges started !

15. Ng5

I had played an early a4, and saw the benefits of that after Black played a less active Rf6 to protect his e-pawn, rather than Rxf4 or exf , either of which might have left things equal.

Although I went up 2 pawns, he played until I created the unstoppable passed pawn. A tough and enjoyable game.

 Next up I was Black against my only d4 opening, and it led to a long positional-type game, something I rarely play.